Happy St. Nicholas' Day

Today is the day we celebrate St. Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra (now in Turkey.) Saint Nicholas was known for his great kindness and his generosity to those in need. Traditional celebrations of Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children's shoes. Good children received treats of candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children received switches and lumps of coal. 

Dom makes this uber-rich, drinking chocolate to commemorate the patron saint of children (and bakers - we all know how much Dom loves pie!) This is the perfect reward for boys on St. Nicholas's "very good" list. It is essentially a liquid chocolate bar, and achieves ultimate richness when you use bittersweet chocolate with 62% to 72% cacao. Serve in demitasse cups to make it extra special, but be prepared to make more when people beg for a second helping.

St. Nicholas' Reward
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Candy cane for garnish (optional)

Put the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. When the chocolate starts to melt, about 3 minutes, stir to blend. When the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated into the cream, add the milk and vanilla. Increase the heat to medium and stir often until the milk is warm, 3 to 4 minutes longer.